In the June 24 edition of this column I related how SAP took advantage of the dislocations caused by Oracles buyout of PeopleSoft/J.D. Edwards to hire away more than 200 Oracle, Siebel and PeopleSoft employees.
At about the same time Oracle flexed its recruiting muscles by disclosing that it had succeeded in luring away a senior marketing executive from BEA Systems and a former Microsoft chief financial officer who was chairman and CEO of 360Networks, a telecommunications company.
Now Siebel customers and employees have become an inviting target for Salesforce.com, which is offering various blandishments to lure them into its camp before the end of the year.
Thursday night Salesforce.com launched a "migration program," which invites Siebel users to download a "CRM survival kit" that starts them off on a 30-day trial period.
The program also offers three months of Salesforce.com service for free, along with free online training and a 25 percent discount on the companys Successforce development services.
Salesforce.com also put the word out to its staff Thursday that it was offering a $5,000 signing bonus for Siebel employees that it hired before Dec. 31. Salesforce.com also plans to hold recruiting events on Oct. 19 in Boston, and in San Mateo, Calif., the location of Siebels corporate headquarters.
Since Oracle and Siebel announced the buyout agreement, "many existing Siebel employees may be concerned about their career prospects," said Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff in an e-mail message to employees. Benioff invited current Siebel employees to schedule confidential meetings at the Boston and San Mateo recruiting session with Siebel alumni who are now working at Salesforce.com.
"We want to offer them an alternative to an environment of declining commissions, confused customers and uncertainty around career viability," the message said.
That doesnt mean that Salesforce.com is ready to hire all comers. In his memo, Benioff noted that "most – but not all – Siebel employees" would be eligible for hiring and there would be a pre-screening process.
Salesforce.com has seen its own staff nearly double between July 2004 and July 2005 from 594 to 1059, according to Benioff.
Another Salesforce.com recruiting win got lost in the cacophony of Siebel buyout news. Salesforce.com announced that it had hired John Freeland, managing director in charge of CRM at Accenture. Freeland joined Salesforce.com as president of worldwide operations and will be mainly responsible for the company Successforce services portfolio of professional, training and support services.
A rapidly growing company like Salesforce.com needs to hire as many qualified people as it can find. Raiding the competition is a time-honored way of filling up the staff ranks while making a troubled company feel even more that it is under siege.
Whenever a corporate takeover happens there is a huge amount of job shuffling with people staying or going with the new organization depending on whether the new organization values what they were doing for the old. Others will go or stay depending on who is willing to give them the best deal.
But all this recruiting gamesmanship hides another significant trend that is less positive for anyone trying to hold a high-tech job in this country. There has been a significant amount of consolidation, in this countrys software industry, especially in the field of enterprise applications.
So far most people have been able to find work in other high-tech companies or in other industries. Its not as if the high-tech sector is in recession. New companies and new technologies are still springing up to replace those that disappear through normal attrition.
But the frequent need to play musical chairs with their careers does nothing to engender a sense of security and everything to increase stress. Rising global competition may lead to even greater pressure on job security and generating greater demand for innovation to create new markets, new products and businesses.
Its enough to make people nostalgic for the days of their parents and grandparents when if they were lucky enough to have a job, they might have a chance to hold it until retirement.
John Pallatto is a veteran journalist in the field of enterprise software and Internet technology. He can be reached at email@example.com.